The comments published on this page reflect the balance of views we received. (September - October 2007)
I want to congratulate the guys at Apple for their new OS. It's truly amazing. However, some of the new mac OS features are actually old. The desktop switching feature has been in the Linux desktop system as far back as I can remember. I think that we should all switch to the free Linux operating systems - they have a lot to offer.
David Ogutu, Nairobi
Although digital transmission has the potential for quality superior to analogue, the precedents are not good. If you look at the change from VHF to digital on radio, in the effort to squeeze as much revenue at as little cost as possible, the compression of signals is often so extreme that the signal is much inferior to the older VHF signals for much of the time. Even now, digital television is often of pretty poor quality, so I don't hold out much hope for high quality digital signals in the future.
Ron Hollis, London UK
Digital TV, quality vs quantity. Finally, some acknowledgement that digital TV doesn't necessarily mean a better picture! I've been saying to people for some time that because analogue had no compression, you'd be best off with a decent aerial if you were not too far from a main transmitter. However, as we're all going digital I'm pleased to report that the MPEG-4 encoding of HD does not break up as badly as the MPEG-2 encoding used for standard definition digital TV.
Alan Jenney, Northwich
Flying has given me the only haven from the curse of the mobile phone. The thought of being stuck in an aluminium tube for up to five hours over Europe and forced to endure the endless drivel into the mobile phones of up to 200 fellow passengers is horrendous to contemplate. Will the airlines provide parachutes and air masks to those who can bear it no longer??!!
Tim Barthorpe, Orkney
MP3 players are available with FM Radio - it would be great if the next generation incorporated DAB radio for the UK market.
Russell Hoban, Bournemouth,
So I am watching your show about next-gen gaming and I see your reporter in front of a bus stop shelter, then I notice the street sign just above it and think to myself ... "this feels like home." Then in a flash I realize that it IS and this is confirmed by your reporter when he introduces the Ubisoft company. Thanks for the visit.
Nigel Cowan, Montreal
Your article on "Big Screen Hacks" - "Potentially they could inject [data] packets in that so they could control the camera and point it in the direction they wanted it to go."
Only if people didn't buy a decent CCTV system. Having worked on IP CCTV systems, I can assure you that market leading systems compatible with British standards in this implement extremely strong encryption both ways over the links; the images MUST be encrypted or risk violations of the Data Protection Act. And the camera controls are encrypted because otherwise it's a security risk, exactly as you point out, which is why serious systems don't do that. If you buy the cheap solutions don't expect them to be secure...
Katie, Cambridge, UK
Regarding hacking scenes in movies, the ONLY realistic scene I have ever seen in a film is in Matrix Reloaded. Ironic really, as the rest of the film is far fetched techno-fantasy, but Trinity appears to properly use a genuine network security tool, called nMap, to 'sniff around' whilst infiltrating a computer security system. Other than that I cannot recall a single realistic 'hacking' scene anywhere.
Craig McCormick, Bristol, England
The article about streaming of video by Marc Cieslak is very interesting. It is true that web architecture is not designed for video streaming. If the web architecture is revamped and when IPv6 is implemented, the dream of streaming the high quality video will come. Let's hope for it.
Most expats that I know are either using or eagerly waiting for internet broadcasting. I'd like to point out, however, that outdated IPR practices are a real hindrance for it to become mainstream. For instance the BBC has great TV series legally available in Azureus P2P, and they are reasonable priced too and downloadable only in the US. I'd consider this short-sighted, since it actually forces people to use illegal options to watch the shows.
Marko Niinimaki, Ferney, France
Yes, the technology for internet TV is well along. What is lagging so far behind is the whole mess of broadcast rights. It seems we have a horrible mismatch of geographical restrictions AND delivery medium restrictions. Anyone living overseas who wants to do something as basic as listening to a football or cricket match is all too familiar with the words, "Due to broadcast rights restrictions this programme is not available on the internet". I would love to have full access to BBC radio and TV streams and would be happy to pay for it.
Yes, the technology is here, but we just can't use it!
Steve, Dallas, USA
I have been watching TV and videos online from various countries around the world for a couple of years. I have been away a couple of times over the last week and have watched Click on my wi-fi enabled mobile, an SPV E650. Just need to click on the Watch Now link then launch in standalone player and it streams very nicely using Windows Media Player on the phone. Watch anywhere from anyplace with a wi-fi hotspot. Absolutely love it and can watch it with earphones in the comfort of my arm chair. In case you were wondering, the resolution is perfectly acceptable on a 2.4 inch screen.
Ray Smith, Plymouth
Watching Webscape, and the piece on 3D mapping, I'd like to point out that the great town of Swindon(!) has been made 3D, worth a look.
David Ager, Swindon
I read your article on the future of internet TV with interest. The future of this aspect of the internet however as with most other questions relating to streaming media, depends on ISPs providing the basic service that they suggest they can provide. My experience with three indicates that the average speeds that ISPs can deliver falls well short of their claims which makes anything other than e-mail, casual surfing and perhaps the occasional media download, the limit of capability here. Forget sitting down to watch a TV programme! The service providers aren't up to it!
Cyril Cocks, UK
In your article about streaming TV you mentioned Babelgum and LiveStation. How about a mention for Zatoo which works in Linux too.
Alan Rochester, Dunoon, Scotland
I think there should be more initiatives like the $100 laptop, one particularly in mind is the power broadband which can bridge the digital divide between Kenya or Africa and the rest of the world. Mobile technology companies should also introduce more R&D centres in Africa because here the mobile phone has been fully adopted and there are lots of commercially viable ideas which would otherwise remain unexplored simply because they exist but there is very little venture capital to implement them.
Haggai Olukutukei, Nairobi
You didn't mention anything about the Vista transformation pack. If you really want XP to look like Vista, this is a good thing to download ... just be a little careful when installing. I've used it now for quite some time and I have to say I like it.
Alwin Oh, Jakarta
I am so disappointed at the UK announcement of the iPhone, I was hoping for a 3G, 16GB version, but could well live with it in its current spec. What really upsets me is the price, £269.99 then an 18 month minimum contract starting at £35 for 200 mins and 200 texts. I pay that now and get 500 minutes and 250 texts and my Nokia N93 phone was free. I would have expected the iPhone to be subsidized on a contract as I would with any other phone. For that price it should be PAYG. What are Apple playing at? The only good thing is the unlimited data and wi-fi that you get, but that is still subject to a fair usage policy. I think Apple need to change their strategy over here and offer the iPhone for free on a contract and also open it up to the other main mobile providers. They have some work to do if they want to compete in the mobile market in the UK as there are a ton of smart phones out there on the same contract rates with more minutes and texts and they are free phones. This has vastly been overpriced for the European markets.
Sean Keogh, Blackpool
Thanks for mentioning Zamzar, it's been a real help to me over the last week!
Karin De Groot, Leiden, Netherlands
Your item on how to stay safe on social network sites, had one expert saying: "... knowing what information about you is on the web is imperative." Quite. How to find out though, beyond going to Google search and entering your name, which most people with or without an ego will have done? Great programme by the way, Click.
Dirk Blink, The Hague
I was watching your show about search engines recording and storing people's search queries and I think that for providing their free service a price has to be paid. It's a similar debate to the one of employers monitoring employee activity on corporate networks. It's the price we pay for the privilege being afforded to us. For people who fear this there exists specialized anonymizing software and internet services that can be used to protect your activities and your online identity. People should explore these. However, I'm more than happy to help Google in exchange for their innovative and extremely convenient (and might I add free) services.
Andrew October, Cape Town
I was dismayed to see your presenter running the Yahoo Widget installer straight from the net!! Surely you should be educating people to save all downloads to a folder and manually virus scan them before opening or installing, this is basic internet safety stuff guys. Enjoy the programme, but would like to see more Linux and open source stuff, to spread the word that there is more to computing than Microsoft.
Joe, Oldham UK
Aww! I wish the BBC would bring back Tomorrow's World, or at least put Click on at a time when the family and I can watch it together. I have been telling everyone I know for years how great the show is - now to revive Maggie Philbin as a TW Presenter - well, WOW! Fond memories of days old. My nine-year-old son enjoys watching Click with me.
It was interesting to read about how search engines retain data on users. I find my Google Gmail account very easy to use and it has a very good spam filter. But it both worries and annoys me that Google scans for keywords within my personal e-mails and sticks adverts relating to them on the side of the page. I don't have anything to hide, but I do find it rather sinister along with shades of Big Brother.
Harvey Manning, Okinawa, Japan
The article "When the net is watching you" is very useful. Indeed it's true that our privacy is the cost paid for search. The search giants should think about alternate ways of collecting data without sparing the users' privacy.
Selvaraaju, Chennai & India
I just wish to say what a marvellous programme Click is. I remember seeing the mobile phone on Tomorrow's World. I couldn't quite understand how one was supposed to walk about with a phone, when we all know one has to go to a phone box. Now I know how - as like millions, I own a mobile phone.
Great to see Maggie Philbin on Click, brings back fond memories of Tomorrow's World when the odd live experiment didn't quite go to plan. Hope to see more TW clips soon.
Well done guys for such a giant step towards bringing modern technology to the developing world. I disagree with your critics who argue that making affordable laptops for children in developing countries is not a priority. I am from a developing country myself and know how exciting it is to catch-up with your peers in the industrialised countries now rather than later.
Clifford Mashiri, Erith
The feature showing the progress of the $100 computer raised important questions about the priorities of the program. However, there is one feature of the program which I feel, may help us in the First World, that is the redesign of the computer to minimise its power consumption and changes to the operating system. Will this lead to computers that are used in the First World being more power efficient, especially in these permanently connected times?
Mark Appleby, Leamington Spa
I think the $100 laptop is a great idea. It is the ultimate democracy for children to learn about the same things we do, and is a powerful constraint against non-democratic governments who suppress information.
I bought a computer in 1983 for my daughter who was three at the time. With early learning software she learnt very quickly to read, write, and learn arithmetic. Games built into the software enabled her to coordinate her eyes with her fingers to operate the keyboard, and the speed my daughter obtained was very fast. The computer is the best teacher around for young children because they can learn so many subjects providing they are supervised.
Jack Foster, Bedford
I think the $100 laptop for Third World kids is the most innovative and forward thinking product I have seen in a long time. I fail to see why aid organisations don't back it. Yes, the Third World needs the basics such as clean drinking water; but this will give Third World children the opportunity to compete with the rest of the world. Where and when these children don't have access to teachers, they can educate themselves via this laptop. It helps put them on a more even footing with the rest of the world.
Malcolm McDonald, Scotland
Any scheme which aims to improve the education of children in the Third World is to be applauded and supported. Of course, if equipment such as these PCs can be made to be energy efficient, that also must be welcomed. In our comfortable, energy-guzzling First World complacency it is easy to switch on our TV or iPod and have our thoughts saturated with mind-numbing crap. We should be pushing for the education of Third World children so that they have the tools to become independent.
Chris Bull, Christchurch
Cheap computers - I am very sceptical of the idea of giving children in Third World countries computers when they are struggling to have nutritious food, clean water and safe, clean housing. I think there are higher priorities as a dead child cannot use a cheap computer. Also, it occurs to me that for the company producing this, adding on the seemingly charitable idea of giving computers to poor children, is a great marketing ploy to get their computers into other countries.